Call for information: why do good software people leave academia?
By Mike Croucher, SSI Fellow, Research Software Engineer and author of Walking Randomly.
William Stein, lead developer of the computer algebra system, Sage, and its cloud-based spin-off, SageMathCloud, recently announced that he was quitting academia to go and form a company. In his talk, William says "I can’t figure out how to create Sage in academia. The money isn’t there. The mathematical community doesn’t care enough. The only option left is for me to build a company."
His talk is linked below and his slides are also available.
“Every great open source math library is built on the ashes of someone’s academic career.”
William’s departure is not unique. Here’s a tweet from Wes Mckinney, creator of pandas, one of the essential data science tools for Python.
One of the major reasons I dropped out of my PhD was because I didn’t believe academia could properly value software contributions
— Wes McKinney (@wesmckinn) June 11, 2016
We are looking for similar stories: good research software people who felt that they had to leave academia because there wasn’t enough support, recognition or funding. Equally, we want to hear from you if you think academia is a rewarding environment for software development. Either way, please contact us at email@example.com.